The Coronavirus Diaries, 20th January 2021

Trump has gone. I am sure I wasn’t the only one who had one eye on the clock during Biden’s inauguration and breathing a huge sigh of relief once I knew Trump was now ex President. I watched parts of Obama’s inauguration, and of course I have seen pictures, but today was the first time I have watched everyone assemble and then the whole thing unfolding. The flags which replaced the usual crowds were great. Whoever thought that one up deserves recognition. Perhaps it was because it felt as though the flag had been reclaimed by people who don’t want to use it to divide but to unite.

I found the inauguration moving, emotional, and above all hopeful. Biden seems a calm person, a thoughtful person, and I felt by the end of his speech a glimmer of hope for the future, not just for the US but for the rest of us. He doesn’t seem like someone who is going to set on the world on fire, but frankly a world on fire is not what we need. He’s going to be the fireman, not the arsonist. Trump stoked flames, Biden is going to use the embers for a community barbecue.

Kamala Harris had a smile on her face which said it all. Lady Gaga thankfully chose not to perform wearing a dress made from cuts of meat. Yuk. JLo was restrained until she switched briefly into Spanish and her joyful exuberance suddenly bubbled up for everyone to see. Garth Brooks, a Republican, represented the wing of his party that wants to help the healing. I thought Mike Pence looked tense, but I think in his position I probably wouldn’t have slept properly in four years, and not at all for the past fortnight. His attendance today seems to me a positive sign for the future of the Republican Party, which is of course much wider than Trump. I was very tempted to write a sentence about Trump’s massive waistline then, but I managed to overcome it. Just thought I’d mention that.

Melania left the White House in black, and shoes with heels that could be classed as offensive weapons. I’m sure the lawn she walked across would agree. She was shown arriving in Florida in a brightly coloured frock. In an ideal world that will be the last time I ever set eyes on her, or any of the close clan Trump. Let’s hope.

Back to the inauguration. Generations to come will probably be struck by the mask wearing, and it says something about where we are now that the masks seemed entirely normal. I was impressed by the way some of the participants, especially Jill Biden, made sure their masks co-ordinated with their outfits. I was interested that Michelle Obama and Hillary Clinton wore trouser suits, and there was a man in a baseball cap. Very un-British! The poet laureate Amanda Gorman, of whom I had never heard before this afternoon, was amazing. In a good way. A very good way. I’m attending the online TS Eliot Prize event on Sunday and I haven’t looked to see who is shortlisted. If she’s not there this year it’s only a matter of time. If you missed her, here’s your chance to catch up.

Stay safe. Keep well. Live in hope.

10 thoughts on “The Coronavirus Diaries, 20th January 2021

  1. It was a very nice day in which no one was fighting. That was such a pleasant relief. Expect the usual to resume tomorrow. But hopeful that all the lovely Unity and Caring presentations will be heard by everyone and perhaps move a few people. There were some wonderful pieces in the “Virtual Parade”.

  2. So nice to hear your responses to the inauguration. Yes, Biden is the perfect person for this office at this time. It is as if he was destined to save us at this moment. He was previously respected by leaders of our allies when he was VP and is respected by most people in government. Because of his long political history he has had countless numbers of very bright and talented people to pick from to fill appointed position in all areas of government (most of which Trump never filled). Pundits are marveling that he has appointed people who are actually qualified for the positions. His transition team has done a wonderful job – in stark contrast with what went on when Trump was preparing for being president (mistake, Trump wasn’t smart enough to think through anything). Such a contrast but everyone is the U.S. is struggling to adjust. We needed to hear all the messages urging us to work together even if we don’t agree all the time, messages told in words and song. Did you see the evening ceremony ending with fire works?

    • Hi Pat, no I only saw the inauguration, and was blown away by Amanda G. Kathy has also mentioned the evening ceremony. Not sure where I can see it. I’ll have a look. Maria who has also commented is in Barcelona. I am not sure where her brother is now, but he is a journalist and was based in Washington. I believe many people around the world are more invested in this US presidency than almost any other. Obama was very important, and for my parents JFK was an important figure. But usually we watch from a distance. This time it feels as though we all need this presidency to be a success, a turning point which stops the US and the rest of us sliding into a ghastly quagmire of fascism. I know it’s not all rosy, that there are elements in the US who yearn for Trump’s return and who are armed to the teeth. Biden can’t mend things alone. It takes the whole world. But I do hope this spells the beginning of the end of the Johnsons, Bolsinaros, Erdogans and Putins among others.
      I have never seen a coronation here, only footage. I am not sure what the next one will be like. we have changes of Prime Minister, and the removal vans are booked for the day after the election, even if they are then cancelled. So your presidential inauguration ceremony is unlike anything I have ever witnessed in my country.
      Here’s hoping for the future. I’ll raise my glass now to that!

      • Maybe if we hope together, we will see progress. I am hoping that here in the US Trump’s white supremacy following is the last dying breath of the confederacy movement responding to a Black being president. Some of them are just stupid – like the man storming the Capital who texted a selfie to his wife’s brother – an FBI agent. Either stupidity or an unfathomable sense of privilege.

        • I am trying to understand the betrayal some of Trump’s supporters feel with mainstream politics that they see him as their saviour. Few seem to have great lives, is it that although they understood they were almost at the bottom of society they always felt that their whiteness meant they would never be at the bottom? That whiteness conferred a superiority? I am struggling a bit!

        • I’m struggling a lot! I just don’t understand it – but am seeing that it is very complex. Especially seeing he never told them anything that was close to the truth and he didn’t have a policy agenda.

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